Dead Calm

Not a sound.

Not a sound. – PS, do you see the school of bonefish?

On the trip to Long Island to fish with Bonefish Paradise at Greenwich Creek Lodge we got lucky when it came to the weather. There were no whitecaps on the water (which I learned are formed when relative wind speeds reach 14 mph). We might have seen a few minutes of 12 mph wind, but we had many more minutes of dead, flat calm.

It turns out dead calm can make for really tough fishing.

One of the mornings Elvis, Tandy (who was called “Candy” for most of the day) and I went far out on the Ocean-Side flats to a little rock way out all on its own. Once the motor was off and we were out of the boat I experiences near sensory-deprivation level quiet. There just were no sounds, save for the occasional shad or bonefish tailing.

It was spooky quiet.

When there is such an absence of sound every sound that is generated seems like an explosion. Each step sounded like a careless water buffalo walking through a rice paddy. And, as it turned out, every cast with the textured line on the Orvis H2 sounded like a million zippers being zipped all at once.

For the first time I saw bonefish, 50 and 60 feet away, visibly spook at the sound of a false cast. I saw them spook at the sound of a single strip of the fly. I’ve heard this criticism of textured lines before, but I had not experienced it myself. Now, I have.

It was simply too quiet. Too still. The weather too good.

When there is a light wind the fish can’t see you as well. They can’t hear you as well. They don’t bolt at the slightest provocation because those slight offenses are masked and obscured and forgiven by the wind.

So, I will no longer wish for windless days… although, if I can dial it up, I’d say a nice 8 mph wind might just be perfect.

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  1. I returned my Orvis Hydros 3D 8 wt bonefish and 5 wt trout lines because they sank in light use. I use the Hydros plain Jane lines now and they don’t sink. Your experiences show another con side. I liked their added distance but it was rarely needed. I’ve had a few hours of dead calm in the mornings but nothing like your experiences. It must have required you to play your A-game! Thanks for the tips.

  2. And there were sharks.

  3. have fished Deadman’s Cay for years. have only had ONE dead calm day in all that time. i had a hard time for several hours that morning, until i noticed that the fish were fleeing before the fly hit the water. they were being spooked by the fly line. i added enough tippet material to have a 15 foot leader–i had a lot of trepidation about whether or not i could get that much leader to straighten out, but it turns out that in dead calm, i can. caught a lot of fish after i lengthened the leader.

  4. I love calm days! Calm days are the most challenging and require you to put all of your skill and knowledge to the test. Those are the days and fish you will remember for a lifetime, the fish that make you a better fly fisherman.

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